Pranab Mukherjee stresses on simplification of taxes

Chinsurah (West Bengal), Dec 4, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday underscored the importance of simplifying taxation procedures as he inaugurated the country’s first computerised income tax services cell here near Kolkata.

After successful pilot runs in Pune, Chandigarh and Kochi, the first fully functional ‘Aayakar Seva Kendra’ (ASK) was launched here in the town in Hooghly district, about 35 km north of Kolkata.

The centre is billed as a one-stop amenities shop for citizens by the Income Tax Department.

“It (ASK) symbolises a change in the mindset of the Income Tax Department from it being only an enforcement agency to that of a service provider,” the Finance Minister said.

The idea was first introduced in the Department’s 2007 Citizens’ Charter and is expected to be replicated in all of its other offices across the country in a phased manner.

Mukherjee also inaugurated a new office of the I-T Department here for the town of 1.3 lakh taxpayers with an estimated annual tax contribution of Rs 43 crores.

Speaking at the event, he also underlined the government’s commitment to lower tax rates by raising the number of taxpayers through awareness drives and stricter enforcements.

India, with an annual direct tax income of over Rs 4 lakh crores, currently awaits a number of reforms to be implemented next year. Apart from the unified goods and services tax on the cards, wider tax slabs are also expected to be introduced in 2011.

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